GEOGRAPHY IN THE NEWS:
This article from The Houston Chronicle looks at how the geography of barbecue evolved. "In the beginning, Texas barbecue was rural. From the mid- to late-1800s, small towns grew up along trade routes, especially the rapidly expanding network of railroads. In towns such as Taylor, railroads exported the agricultural bounty of the region, mainly cotton in the early days and, later, cattle. At the same time, Czech and German immigrants landing in Galveston made their way west along the San Felipe Trail, settling among the prosperous farms and ranches of Central Texas. They brought with them the butchery and cooking skills of their homeland, and many opened meat markets to take advantage of the area’s plentiful cattle. Every Saturday or Sunday, the freshly butchered meat of the week before — now facing spoilage in the era before refrigeration — was cooked in brick fire pits and sold to locals and itinerant workers as a weekend lunch or supper special. The story of Texas barbecue was established. By the early 1900s, as the state’s population migrated to rapidly growing urban areas, barbecue followed. By 1913, a Houston city directory listed 15 barbecue stands. Ten of these were owned by African-Americans, reflecting the migration of former slaves from rural to urban areas after the Emancipation Proclamation, bringing with them the open-pit cooking methods of the southern United States. Indeed, African-American-owned barbecue restaurants became associated with urban areas, with celebrated smoked-meat purveyors becoming entrenched in cities including Houston, Chicago and Kansas City, Mo." www.houstonchronicle.com/entertainment/restaurants-bars/bbq/article/The-shifting-geography-of-barbecue-in-Texas-13656406.php
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